Xiao Yan Ying
- Position: PhD Student - Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance
- Load: PhD Student Full Time
- Principal supervisor: Chris Patel
- Associate supervisor: Parmod Chand
- Date of submission: 06/02/2016
- Thesis title: The Influence of Contextual Factors on External Auditors' Professional Scepticism in China
A number of high profile accounting scandals around the world have raised serious public concerns of external auditors ability to maintain professional scepticism. Given the increasing needs to investigate issues related to auditors' professional scepticism in various countries, this study examines the influence of contextual factors on the perception, interpretation and judgments of auditors' professional scepticism in China. In order to provide a holistic and comprehensive insight into the contextual features of professional scepticism, we adopt a multidisciplinary approach which critically analyses relevant economic, political, social, legal and historical factors by drawing on relevant historical, sociological and psychological studies.
The findings of this study will have implications for standard setters, regulators, accounting professionals, and auditing educators by enhancing our understanding of complexity of contextual influences on professional scepticism. This understanding may also be used to improve auditing education and training to enhance auditors abilities to maintain professional scepticism.
- Purpose: This study aims to provide insights into the influence of acculturation on auditors’ judgments by focusing on auditors’ professional scepticism, one of the most important concepts stressed throughout the International Standards on Auditing.
- Originality: Acculturation, which is culture change that is initiated by the conjunction of two or more autonomous cultural systems, can lead to changes of individuals’ values, judgments, and behaviours. Despite the importance of acculturation in achieving the desired objectives of globalisation and international auditing convergence, issues related to the influence of acculturation on accounting and auditing are underexplored.
- Key Literature/theoretical perspective:
It has long been acknowledged in socio-psychological and anthropological literature that in the acculturative process, individual members in either host cultural group or adapting cultural group experience changes in values, judgments, and behaviours.
Given the strong focus on the legalistic system and the long history of philosophy of “legalism” in China, the emphasis in the auditing standards on questioning mindset, suspicion of clients provided evidence in regard to maintaining professional scepticism is likely to lead to higher level of professional scepticism among Chinese auditors in China compared to both Anglo-Celtic auditors and Chinese auditors in Australia. Given the influence of acculturation, it is further hypothesized that compared to Chinese auditors in Australia with greater extent of acculturation, Chinese auditors in Australia with lesser extent of acculturation are likely to be more sceptical about audit evidence provided by a client.
- Design/methodology/approach: A quasi-experimental design using questionnaire with an auditing scenario will be undertaken to test the differences in levels of professional scepticism among Anglo-Celtic auditors and Chinese auditors in Australia, and Chinese auditors in China. Moreover, this study uses an established measure of acculturation, namely, the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation (SL-ASIA) Scale, to measure the extent of acculturation of Chinese auditors in Australia and further test the influence of acculturative extent on professional scepticism.
- Findings: Research in progress
- Research limitations/implications: The findings of this study may suggest that the influence of acculturation may be useful in shifting auditors’ judgments related to professional scepticism and moving towards the right balance of professional scepticism.
- Practical and social implications: The findings may be useful in improving auditing education and training to enhance auditors’ abilities to achieve appropriate levels of professional scepticism. The findings may assist standard setters, regulators, accounting professionals, and auditing educators in enhancing the understanding of the complex and contextual features of professional scepticism.
- Keywords: Professional scepticism, Audit judgments, Acculturation, Chinese auditing, Convergence